The Ferrari Effect

Admit it, even if you didn’t have some money on Felipe Massa winning the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim over the weekend, you’d have had plenty of sympathy for those punters who had backed the Brazilian to win the race beforehand.

The ‘coded’ message to Massa, which being honest, wasn’t the most difficult to decipher – it is a good job Ferrari weren’t asked to work on the enigma machine- was quite clearly a team order, taken by someone sat in an office far away from Germany, totalling up the potential financial gains to be made by the company should Fernando Alonso win the World Championship.

Their subsequent fine of $100,000 is therefore laughable. In the first three months of 2009, turnover for the Ferrari F1 team was 441 million euro with a trading profit of 54 million euro. That is in three months of the year.

So you can imagine how much of a deterrent that $100,000 dollar fine is and how unlikely Ferrari are now to repeat this nonsense again in future.

This is the equivalent of the Football Association in England fining Manchester United £50,000 for fixing a game.

In all honesty, it makes a mockery of the sport. Ferrari blatantly ignored the rules laid down at the start of the season regarding team orders. There is not one person present at that race, or who witnessed it on television, that can be in any doubt of that. I am sure I am not the only person who felt real sorrow for Massa, who to me isn’t a particularly likeable driver, but who was denied a maiden victory following his horrific injury last year, simply because his team deemed it more profitable for them, or have secretly agreed with Alonso that he is number 1 driver thus allowing him to win at Massa’s expense.

The way to stop such nonsense is annoyingly simple. In cases such as this, where the evidence is incontrovertible, then the team should be stripped of all the points it has earned in that race. In addition the driver who profited from the team order should be deducted his points. I don’t think it is fair however, that Massa loses his too. So he would be allowed to keep them, though they would not count towards Ferrari’s total for the constructors title.

Unfortunately, as we have seen all too readily in the past, the powers that be in F1 seem afraid to say anything to the team to Marinello in terms of discipline. McLaren were heavily fined and supremo Ron Dennis forced to resign in another scandal that blighted the sport a couple of years back, when McLaren were accused of trading team secrets. When Ferrari were found guilty of the same thing with Renault, the result was a small fine.

Parity? I think not.

Motor sports aficionados will know that there is one rule for Ferrari and one rule for the rest. Indeed, so blatantly one sided does this entire F1 disciplinary system seem to be, it is almost as if Jean Todt, president of FIA, is a former team principle and CEO of Ferrari.

Ah… Suddenly, it all becomes so much clearer.

One thing is for certain, punters backing Felipe Massa in future had better hope that Fernando Alonso is nowhere near him in the race, otherwise it seems you are wasting your money. many points and with some of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, Oakland will stack the line to stop Chris Johnson. The Titans should still win, but it will be much closer than many are predicting.